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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Touch Screen Gloves from the Robot Test Kitchen

There’s no need to spend big bucks on fancy gloves that let you use your touchscreen devices. In this inexpensive and simple program teens can make their own! This is also a great STEM related program for those of us who are more comfortable with traditional craft programs. It’s timely given the winter season fast approaching, and teens will end up with a really useful product that they can either keep and use themselves, or give as a gift.

Materials:

supplies$7 Conductive Thread

$1 / 2 pairs Gloves

Needles & Needle threader

Fat markers

There are no real big expenses here as you can likely find some needles around the library or your own house. The bobbin spool of conductive thread linked above contains 26 yards, ample even for a large group. Teens can bring their own gloves from home, or you can easily find them this time of year at a Dollar Store.

 

Process:

Thread the needles with a couple feet of conductive thread.

Have teens select and put on the gloves, then pretend that they are using a handheld device. This is to figure out exactly where they want the conductive bits to be (hint: it’s not square in the center of your thumb!). Use the marker to mark the spots.

Stitching the finger padRemove the gloves and insert a capped marker into the first finger that you’re going to sew. This is so you can use your dominant hand to sew and still avoid sewing the fingertip closed!

With a simple satin stitch, create the conductive pad.

It’s important to get the stitches to go all the way through the layer of glove material. If the conductive thread doesn’t contact your finger, it won’t work.

Test out each pad after you finish stitching, but before you knot it off. If it doesn’t work as well as you want, add more rows of stitching in the correct places, being sure to go all the way through the fabric of the glove so that it contacts your hand.

After knotting off the work, leave a tail of thread inside the finger of the glove to ensure that there’s plenty of contact between your hand and the conductive pad.

If visuals help, this great video explains it all.

If you do self-directed programs at your library, this would be an easy enough activity to set out as a take-home with a few additional prep steps:

  • Cut lengths of the thread and wind them around cards – ideally instruction cards for this activity.
  • Consider pre-threading needles with the thread.
For more details on this project and lots of extension activity ideas, check out our review on the Robot Test Kitchen.

-Heather

 

Comments

  1. This is just the idea I was looking for! I want to do a winter craft for teens in our Makerspace next month, and this one’s perfect! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing this idea! This is such a cheap and easy program to do as the weather gets colder. This would also be a great way to introduce more complex wearable electronics to see if there is interest.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] There are all kinds of amazing wearable electronics projects you can do with conductive thread and Arduino, but that’s still a stretch for me. I started simple here and just had the kids embroider small bits onto the fingers and thumbs of cheapie gloves that I bought at the Dollar Store. The conductivity of the thread allows you to then use touchscreen devices while wearing gloves. For detailed instructions of how to do this, check out our TPiB (Teen Program In A Box) over at the Teen Librarian Toolbox. […]

  2. […] some of us, winter is coming, and that means gloves. Here’s a project to help you use your touchscreens on the chilliest of […]

  3. […] the idea of making something that can actually be useful. When I came across this program from Teen Librarian Toolbox last year, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Your full how-to can be found on the link […]

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